I did have every intention this week on writing up a summary of last weeks results from around the world, but work and other news have forced my hand into just a quick summary and some press releases.
There have been about 13 nations that had matches last weekend, Australia, the USA, PNG, Germany, New Zealand, Sweden, Serbia, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England, Italy and Russia. I’ll just say that you can jump on and get the latest results here. But there is much news from around the place from Morocco and the BARLA tours that I figured I’d do one of my wrap ups.
Some local stuff here in the USA first. The two competitions continue. In the USARL there were 4 games completed despite some technical hitches. The Boson 13s who were playing Jacksonville, had their flight hot mechanical trouble, so it took 18 hours for them to get into Jacksonville, the scheduled match had to be delayed to the next day. However now that Jacksonville has their local competition it wasn’t a wasted afternoon for the 1200 fans that turned up. The Axemen on the Saturday played an All-Stars team made up of the best players from the new Florida second division which they won 62-10. The next day the Jacksonville team got up and played the Boston team, 2 full games in 2 days, was a big ask but the 250 fans that returned the next day were treated with a good game and the Axemen winning 60 – 10.
I was was able to get in touch with Spinner at the Axemen and get his thoughts on the happenings, “We played Boston at 9am on Sunday and had 250 fans come back that early to watch that game. It was fantastic!
It was a big ask to have our guys play twice in 16 hours, but they all had no issue with it and the fans ended up getting an extra game for free out of it. Overall a great weekend of RL.
The reserve grade comp has already shown its value in allowing us to pull off a ‘quick fix’.”
Other results in the USARL were New Jersey 22 – 30 Washington, New Haven 34 – 26 Rhode Island and Philadelphia 104 – 0 Oneida
In the AMNRL all six teams were featured and a full round was played. The big story being New York Nights and Connecticut going head to head once again with the Knights looking to extract some revenge for last weeks narrow loss. The Knights were pretty ruthless this time with Luke Hume, Nigel Millgate and Regan Hyde staring in the win as the Knights were able to run out big winners 32 – 12.
I talked to Chris Doyle from the New York Knights about the game, “After last weeks heart-breaking result, it was great to see the boys respond they way they did. We worked hard on our deficiencies through the week and focused carefully on getting the simple things right, the things that let us down the previous week. We still felt that we have a lot of improvement left in us, we still turned over a lot of easy possession and gave away a lot of penalties. But these are things we can work on. The most encouraging aspect was our commitment to our defence and the way we really came together as a team to accept nothing less than victory in this encounter.”
Other AMNRL results were NY Northern 36 – 24 Aston and Bucks County 68 – 14 Delaware. We await eagerly now the start of the Hawaiian season this coming weekend.
On another note, I am hearing questions being asked about exactly what is happening with Apple Pope? Apple is the current captain of the USA Tomahawks National Team. Where is he playing, has he been playing and what is his status for the Tomahawks? Hopefully there will be an answer soon.
Well Wednesday saw game two of the State of Origin series for this year. Now everyone knows my views on this series in the context of the international game, however that does not mean I am not a passionate Blues man and love it when we belt the Maroons.
I got up at 4:30 am to watch it and damn it was worth every second of it. I have to say it was a thoroughly enjoyable game, not just because we won, but finally in a long time we had two teams that were actually playing with some sort of tactics and a game plan in mind. In past years I felt the blues had no idea what they were doing and seemed to just try and make it up as they went, but despite being a smaller team the blues were able to muscle the Maroons out of the match. Gallen, made me proud as a Sharkie as well with one of the most outstanding individual performances I have seen in a long time.
With over 80,000 passionate supporters it was also great to see the whole myth of Queenslanders being more passionate disproved. I can tell you we are just as passionate about it as them, we just choose not to be show offs about it. In the end it was the blues night, despite it looking sketchy for a bit there in the 1st half the blues ran away with it 18-8 in the end.
But we have to look at what it does for international eligibility. So looking at the two teams that have played, these are the players that cannot (hopefully will not be allowed to) play for any other nation. Willie Tonga (QLD, , Petero Civenoceva, Michael Jennings, Akiula Uate, Tim Mannah, Anthony Minichello, Jarryd Hayne and Will Hopoate. That is one hell of a number of great players that can’t play now.
The second Middle East North Africa championship begins at the end of the month and will be hosted by Morocco, the North Africans playing Lebanon in a two game series. The matches will be staged in Casablanca and the visiting Cedars will be aiming to retain the trophy they won last October.
For several months the Rugby League European Foundation MENA department has been working with stakeholders in Casablanca, training Moroccan technical staff in London and consulting with both the Moroccan Ministry of Youth and Sport and the EU about the foundation of a credible Moroccan Rugby League based entirely in the Maghreb.
One of the men involved in the project is Mustapha Jedoual, the president and founder of the Berrechid rugby league club on the outskirts of Casa. “We are faced with many challenges if we are to realise our great passion – rugby league in our nation,” he said. “Nevertheless, our goal is to create a Moroccan rugby league federation, legally mandated and structured, with the ability to run a national championship and other competitions.”
Morocco XIII coach Abdelwahed Souguini has named a 23-man squad for the fixtures. The veteran coach, who played for Morocco in the 1995 Developing Nations World Cup against Ireland and Moldova, is keen to let his young charges take the field.
“The MENA Championship is almost here, and we’ve prepared a good, young group,” said Souguini. “Recruitment has focused on players with a lot of potential who are maturing well in their regions. It has been a real pleasure to be able to express to these young players all the emotions that that they are going to feel. They realise that hard work, demanding training, discipline and enjoyment are essential if they’re going to get the upper hand.”
Souguini, the Berrechid RLFC technical director and a former Moroccan boxing champions, is also playing a leading role in the organisation of aspiring Moroccan coaches: “I’m also hoping to be able to develop the younger coaches, that Moroccan rugby league is going to rely on to grow in the years to come. Moroccan rugby league will be more stable with more youth involvement.”
Lebanon’s visit will be their second, marking a return to North Africa after an eight year interval. The visitors will be led by the Fédération Française de Rugby à 13’s performance chief, Thierry Dumaine who is part of a revamped Lebanese technical staff. His primary role will be to oversee the Lebanese squad, while also assessing the possibilities the sport has in Morocco.
MOROCCO XIII SQUAD
Mostafa Aamoud, Abdessalam Amine, Ayoub Akli, Hicham Alaoui, Rachid Amzaourou, Baderddine Barradi, Mohamed Boukassal, Salah Eddine Bellejdoul, Mohammed Chani, Najib Ahmed Daghbor, Said Daif, Mohamed Daouma, Mohamed Elomari, Hicham Ettarfi, Youssef Harizi, Mohamed Hdyli, Abdelaziz Lassaoui, Mohamed Mostaid, Youssef El Moudni, Rachid Ben Mouida, Mohamed Ouamou, Mohamed Seddiki, Karim Tiri.
The matches will be played on 29th June and 2nd July.
The BARLA Western Australia tourists continued their winning form with a 44-0 victory over Western Australian Rugby League Premier Division leaders North Beach Sea Eagles. Head coach John Fieldhouse was delighted with the performance saying
“It was a superb performance to post 44 unanswered points, we had to wrestle and tough it out in the first half. I thought we were probably 16 points better than them at the interval, we only had 10 but in the second half we were magnificent.”
The game was an arm wrestle for the first half an hour and neither side could register an opening score with a torrential down pour before the game making handling very difficult. St Pats winger Danny Mason thought he had opened BARLAs account 15 minutes in but the official wiped the score for a knock on in the build up.
The WARL Premier Division leaders offered a chance to test BARLAs defence on several occasions but the side which was almost completely changed from the first victory versus Rockingham Sharks where more than a match in defence.
With only 6 minutes left of the half BARLA eventually broke the North Beach defence with St Pats interchange hooker Gary Phillips diving over from acting half back. Leigh East stand off Adam Holland added the extras from under the sticks.
As in the first game with a score under the belt BARLA seemed to double in confidence and strong running from Mick Randall and Lee Fewlass. Just before the interval BARLA added another try to the buffer when York Acorn scrum half took the line on and passed out the back to Castleford Lock Lane loose forward bumped off the cover and went over out wide.
Another downpour at half time meant that the second half might be another low scoring affair but that wasn’t to be the case. 2 minutes into the second half Kells centre Scott Lofthouse made a superb length of the field break from the base of the scrum, Adam Holland again added the goal.
Again BARLA were pinned in their own 10 with scrum possession after forcing the error with their robust defence. With several speedsters in the field Holland put a weighted kick from the scrum and Shaw Cross Sharks winger Pat Foulstone was the first to it hacking it forward before pouncing on it in goal. Holland again added on the extras to give his side a 22 point lead.
The advantage at this time had firmly swung into BARLAs direction after the game was even for such a long period of the game. On the hour mark West Hull second rower Tom Radley hit a superb flat pass at the line from hooker Gary Phillips. Holland added the goal.
Adam Thomason was next on the score sheet after being pulled short the tackle before the Leigh Miners second row latched onto a beautiful offload from Jeffels. Tom Radley completed his brace on the 70 minute mark pouncing on a dab through from Carl Puckering. Leigh Miners Tom Bradbury added the goal. Craig Jeffels brought down the curtain on BARLAs scoring and a fine performance for the Lock Lane loose with the final try after supplying centre Danny Mason who broke down the line before offloading back to Jeffels, Bradbury once again added the extras. John Fieldhouse was over the moon with the performance saying
“I’ve never seen a better defensive display. If you’re a coach and you wanted to show a team how to defend for 80 minutes, this is the game you’d need to show them. I’ve never coached a team who have defended so well for 80 minutes. I’ve coached a team that has defended for 20 minutes, for 40 minutes and maybe even 60 minutes but never 80. Those guys have just gone out their and done it.”
“We knew they would come strong for the opening 30 minutes but we soaked that up and we came back stronger and stronger. Every time they threw something else at us we hit back harder, I’m over the moon with that performance.”
The performance will create competition for places in the final club game v Fremantle Roosters next Tuesday 21st before the final test game on Friday against the Western Australia state team played before the Sydney Rabbithos and Brisbane Broncoes at the nib Stadium Perth.
Assistant coach Kev Thompson said “We’ve said all along that we want players to create a selection headache for Jon and myself and they’ve done that today. They’ve answered every question we asked of them today. We reviewed our last game and we pointed out how we could improve and the players took that on board and did that tonight.”
NORTH BEACH SEA EAGLES
1 Lee Reynols, 15 Matt Hohaia, 3 Greg Ranga, 4 Mick Kestel, 5 Will Hall, 6 Nick Laurie, 7 Ryan Dickson, 8 Ben Dickson, 9 Brad Buck, 10 Keiran Tarrant, 11 Matt Boyce, 12 Sam Lofts, 13 Josh Body Subs: 14 Mike Adams, 2 Wayne Ryburn, 16 Shawn Phillips, 17 Dylan Walker, 18 Will Dyer, 19 David McCarrison, 20 Jordan Melling
BARLA GB LIONS
21 Rhys Davies – Egremont Rangers, 16 Pat Foulstone -Shaw Cross Sharks, 5 Danny Mason – Wigan St Patricks, 3 Scott Lofthouse – Kells, 26 Chris Walker – Oulton Raiders, 24 Adam Holland – Leigh East, 7 Tim Elliott – York Acorn, 10 Trevor Penrose – Skirlaugh, 19 Steve McDermott – Halton Simms Cross, 18 Dave Lowery – Kells, 25 Adam Thomason – Leigh East, 22 Tom Radley West Hull, 20 Tom Bradbury Leigh Miners Subs: 9 Gareth Phillips – Wigan St Patricks, 1 Ryan Fieldhouse – Leigh East, 6 Carl Puckering – East Hull, 4 Carl Booth – Myton Warriors, 17 Craig Jeffels – Castleford Lock Lane, 23 Mick Randall – Halton Simms Cross, 15 Lee Fewlass – Myton Warriors
Men of the Match
BARLA GB Lions : Gary Phillips / Steve McDermott, North Beach Sea Eagles : Ryan Dickson
Referee: Liam Noonan (WARLRA)
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